Today I am delighted to bring you a guest post from author Gila Green entitled “The Secret To Inspired Writing”.
Gila’s latest book No Entry is now available. I have also posted some details below about this latest release, but first, time to meet the author! I leave you in Gila’s very capable hands!
About the author
Canadian Gila Green is an Israel-based author. Her novels include: No Entry, White Zion, Passport Control, and King of the Class and she’s published dozens of short stories. She writes about racism, war, alienation, immigration, and survival. She has a fascination with the 1930s and 40s in the Middle East, and most recently has turned her attention to African elephant poaching. She does most of her work in a converted bomb shelter overlooking the Judean Hills. She loves to hear from readers.
The Secret to Inspired Writing
By Gila Green
I don’t get ideas. I feel ideas. Let me explain. I’m commonly asked where my ideas come from for my fiction. It’s a legitimate question. You’ve probably read it in many author interviews. The most common writer responses I’ve read to this question include: true experiences; ideas I overheard, events that happened to people close to me; historical or current events; revamping well known Biblical themes, Shakespearean plays, Greek mythology, or other famous themes.
In this post I’d like to respond in a new way. I get ideas from emotions. I ask myself this question: what can I think of that makes me feel a strong emotion? Think of this as a journaling prompt. The emotion can be negative or positive, but it has to be strong. It has to make me want to jump out of my chair, laugh, shout, or cry. Those are the only rules. Nothing is off limits.
For example, in my young adult, environmental fiction novel No Entry, there is a somewhat violent scene in which the heroine seventeen-year-old, Yael Amar, comes across a murdered elephant. The elephant’s face is disfigured because her tusks have been ripped off (it’s tempered because I definitely took the audience age into account.) How did I write that scene? I went online and Googled elephant poaching, read articles about the terrifying current state of the African elephant, and flipped through photos of elephants in their natural environment.
When I was overflowing with emotion about poachers who murder elephants for their ivory, and only then, I wrote the scene and then the whole chapter. In this way, my passion for the subject spills out onto the page.
Now you may ask how did I get the idea for writing about elephant poaching in the first place? My answer is the same. I thought about something that made me feel a strong emotion. I knew I wanted to write a South African-based novel. After writing four Middle-East and Canada based novels, I needed a new canvas. I wanted a challenge and a change at the same time. Thinking about South Africa made me think of Kruger National Park. Almost immediately elephant extinction came to mind and voila! the scene begins to form in my writing. This is one of the reasons why good writing is so close to good acting. You need to inhabit your characters. This means zeroing in on the emotions surging through the character at that point on the page.
The next time you’re writing don’t try to think, try to feel. When you feel something, any emotion, strongly enough, focus in on it, find related experiences that you can conjure up from anywhere, real or imagined, and start writing. This will inspire your writing process and in turn, your readers.
In No Entry, Canadian teenager, Yael Amar, signs on to an elephant conservation program and ends up coming face to face with violence, greed, murder, and the taste of a very real danger for all of us: elephant extinction. The story takes place in South Africa’s famous, breathtaking Kruger National Park.
Yael vows to devote herself to saving the planet from human greed and is set to learn all she can about ivory poaching when she accidentally encounters a murderous poaching ring taking place below the surface of her newfound paradise. She receives a second blow when she discovers her idol, Clara Smith, the prestigious and well-respected program director, profits from blood ivory, while preaching about the sanctity of wildlife. Yael is forced to decide on a new mission: expose this poaching ring to the police or return to the safety of her normal life—before she becomes their next victim.
On her journey she is accompanied at times by her conservative, naive boyfriend, David, and at other times by her new brash best friend, New Yorker, Nadine Kelly. She is inspired by her African guide Sipho, a poverty-stricken artist, professional park ranger, and ultimately, her partner in risking her life.
At the same time as Yael is forced to confront the ugly face of elephant slaughter, she grieves the loss of her brother, Ezra, murdered in a terrorist firebombing before the novel begins. It is this grief that gives her the strength to confront the evil men, who would empty Africa of every last elephant to fill their own pockets.
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Stormbird Press is deeply connected to the global environment movement, as an imprint of Wild Migration—a not-for-profit conservation organisation that has worked around the world for years to build the participation capacity of wildlife scientists, wildlife policy experts and civil society, to secure international wildlife conservation. We know that if local communities are empowered, they can be guardians of their biological and cultural heritage and the wildlife they live with. Indeed, we believe the rich tapestry and diversity of life includes human and non-human cultures.